TCU guard Kenrich Williams brushed off being literally tackled on the way to the basket by an SMU player as “just part of the game.”
SMU’s Ben Emelogu was called for an intentional foul after wrapping his arms around Williams to prevent a breakaway layup and falling to the court with him during the second half of a non-conference game Tuesday night between the Horned Frogs and Mustangs at Schollmaier Arena.
The home crowd and TCU’s bench protested immediately, and coach Jamie Dixon gathered his players quickly, perhaps preventing more problems in an emotional game. TCU won 94-83 to end a five-game losing streak to the Mustangs.
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“It got us fired up. It’s just part of the game,” said Williams, who scored a career-high 27 points. “It was just a hard foul. Part of the game. Got us fired up. Kind of helped us a little bit, in a way.”
After the play with 8:56 left in the game, the Frogs scored 12 of the next 19 points to take command with a 76-63 lead on Williams’ jumper.
“I like how our whole team handled it,” Dixon said. “ Usually that play turns into a double technical; somebody reacts. I think the kid made the wrong play, but I don’t think it was a malicious play. I told the referee, it was an obvious intentional foul, but I did not think it was a malicious foul, and I thought our guys really handled it well because oftentimes, they turn into more.”
TCU won its 14th consecutive game since last season, remaining undefeated at 9-0 heading to a Friday night game in Los Angeles at Staples Center against Nevada, the last game of a tripleheader in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. Tip time is scheduled for midnight Central.
A crowd announced at 6,840, third-largest at Schollmaier Arena, watched TCU extend its nation-best winning streak to 14 games.
Williams is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds for TCU.